Leadership in Extraordinary Times
Clariant is committed to continuous professional development, a collaborative workplace, and a culture of appreciation. These aspirations, in combination with the empathy, change management competencies, and end-to-end thinking exhibited by leadership, proved more valuable than ever in the transformative times of 2020. In light of rapidly changing markets and advancing digitalization in the industry, Clariant’s leaders and employees already needed to excel at flexibility and continuous learning. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, mandated a rapid acceleration of these skills.
1. Enhancing digital leadership skills
The existing trend toward flexibility in employee location and the resulting need for remote leadership skills were accelerated by the pandemic. Clariant was able to capitalize on progress made in the past and quickly issued several initiatives. For example, to ensure uninterrupted talent management and development, the company upskilled its leadership in using virtual tools and developing trust and teamwork over distances. To guide its people through this transition, the company developed guidelines for both virtual leadership and remote working.
Clariant redesigned existing trainings and added multiple new offerings to enhance digital learning. A digital academy portfolio is now available to employees and leaders. New virtual learning elements include microlearning videos, a virtual self-learning hub with recommended content sorted by business type or skill, and guided learning nuggets on topics such as time management or resilience. In China, a virtual Learning Friday initiative was launched.
2. Focus areas for People Excellence Strategy
Clariant’s People Excellence Strategy promotes an organizational culture of learning and development to ensure high performance in times of fundamental change. The major focus area in 2020 was to assist Business Units in implementing newly defined organizational structures and ways of working. In particular, Business Unit Pigments received support in transforming into a global functional organization with new roles, process flows, and accountabilities. Clariant helped leaders guide their teams through this significant change process with tools such as workshops on value development and application. For example, Business Unit Oil and Mining Services in North America underwent a 12-month journey to lead the organization through the change process of implementing a new organizational structure.
3. Fostering leadership skills and continuous learning
For Clariant, continuous learning and professional development are crucial to maintain a high level of competitiveness and advance employees on their career path. The company helps employees cultivate interpersonal as well as technical skills at all levels and focuses on shaping new leaders to ensure continuity and build organizational knowledge. To do so, Clariant relies on a well-developed talent management program, which includes structured talent identification and review processes, diverse formal and informal talent development measures, and career management.
Throughout and despite the rapid and significant challenges of 2020, Clariant maintained its strategic focus on strengthening priority skills among its leaders, such as empathy and change management competence. E-learning courses launched in 2020 for employees newly promoted to leadership functions included a focus on these abilities. The company also amended its training program for existing leadership accordingly.
4. Strengthening individual development opportunities
To strengthen individual competencies, the company rolled out its capability assessment and development program for positions in Human Resources and Finance. This program supports Clariant Human Resources’ key strategic pillar of »Organizational Efficiency and Effectiveness,« providing clarity on requirements for various job levels and assessing development opportunities at organizational and individual levels. Clariant also set up career paths for key job families such as Innovation, Finance, Commercial, and Supply Chain Management, illustrating the route from a current position toward a key position in the organization. In 2020, Clariant filled 97% of senior management positions through internal promotions. The promotion rate for senior managers was 38%.
5. Employer branding and talent retention
Given the global hunt for talent and the rapidly evolving skill requirements, positioning Clariant as a preferred employer while also retaining current employees is a clear priority for the company. Clariant aims to provide challenging positions, foster individual learning and development, and recognize the efforts of its existing employees through appreciation programs. Clariant upgraded its recruiting messaging, expanded its employee referral programs to additional countries, and made improvements to job advertisements and career pages. The company also made an effort to actively respond to reviews on employer review platforms. This not only demonstrated commitment to transparency, but also made users feel engaged and heard, thereby improving Clariant’s branding as an employer. In 2020, the company achieved a very high talent retention rate of >90%.
Switzerland »Best Recruiters«: 2nd place in the branch »Chemie« (5th in 2018/19)
Forbes: ranked among the »World’s 750 Best Employers 2020« (Rank 684)
6. Encouraging diversity in thought and action
Clariant values fairness and equal opportunities and hires and promotes people independent of their cultural background, gender, or age into key positions. Diversity in thinking enriches perspectives, challenges established patterns, and lays the path for continuous evolution. Beyond day-to-day interactions and exchanges, Clariant has begun implementing collaboration platforms where individuals from different departments propose solutions for presented issues. Through this format, the company encourages collaboration across functions and removes organizational boundaries.
The company evaluates and develops all employees through a structured Talent Management process that follows transparent and fair criteria. Broad learning measures and learning circles allow employees to show their capabilities to peers and senior management. The company’s structured succession planning on a global level cultivates a diversity of profiles for leadership roles. To further support female talent, Clariant has set up coaching and mentoring programs designed to specifically guide women through their career stages. In a historically male-dominated industry, the company achieved 32% female representation across its employee base and 17% in management positions.
Clariant investigates the trends of the future of work and will adjust its working models and employee benefits programs step by step. The aim is to better address individual needs of employees, for example, by allowing for more flexibility in allocating working time and working place.
Pigments are substances used for coloring; they are used in a technical manner, for example in the manufacture of dyes, varnishes, and plastics. View entire glossary